Category Archives: Marketing

The market for socially responsible investing

This is an excerpt from my latest paper, entitled: “The market for socially responsible investing: A review of the developments”. 

How to Cite: Camilleri, M.A. (2020). The market for socially responsible investing: A review of the developments. Social Responsibility Journal. DOI. 10.1108/SRJ-06-2019-0194.


There are various ratings and reference indices that are utilized by investors to evaluate financial and SRI portfolios (Scalet and Kelly, 2010). Typically, the SRI indices constitute a relevant proxy as they evaluate the ESG performance of listed businesses (Joliet and Titova, 2018; Le Sourd, 2011). A large number of SR contractors, analysts and research firms are increasingly specializing in the collection of ESG information as they perform ongoing analyses of corporate behaviors (Dumas and Louche, 2016). Many of them maintain a database and use it to provide their clients with a thorough ESG analysis (including proxy advice), benchmarks and engagement strategies of corporations. They publish directories of ethical and SRI funds, as they outline their investment strategies, screening criteria, and voting policies (Leite and Cortez, 2014). In a sense, these data providers support the responsible investors in their selection of funds.

 

SRI Indices, Ratings and Information Providers

KLD / Jantzi Global Environmental Index, Jantzi Research, Ethical Investment Research Service (Vigeo EIRIS) and Innovest (among others) analyze the corporations’ socially responsible and environmentally-sound behaviors as reported in Table 1. Some of their indices (to name a few) shed light about the impact of products (e.g. resource use, waste), the production processes (e.g. logging, pesticides), or proactive corporate activities (e.g. clean energy, recycling). Similarly, social issues are also a common category for these contractors. In the main, the SRI indices benchmark different types of firms hailing from diverse industries and sectors. They adjust their weighting for specific screening criteria as they choose which firms to include (or exclude) from their indices (Leite and Cortez, 2014; Scalet and Kelly, 2010). One of the oldest SRI indices for CSR and Sustainability ratings is the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The companies that are featured in the Dow Jones Indices are analyzed by the Sustainable Asset Management (SAM) Group (i.e. a Swiss asset management company). Another popular SRI index is FTSE Russell’s KLD’s Domini 400 Social Index (also known as the KLD400) which partners with the Financial Times on a range of issues. Similarly, the Financial Times partners with an ESG research firm (i.e. EIRES) to construct its FTSE4 Good Index series. Smaller FTSE Responsible Investment Indices include the Catholic Values Index, the Calvert Social Index, the FTSE4Good indices, and the Dow Jones family of SRI Indices, among others. The KLD400 index screens the companies’ performance on a set of ESG criteria. It eliminates those companies that are involved in non-eligible industries. Impax, a specialist finance house (that focuses on the markets for cleaner or more efficient delivery of basic services of energy, water and waste) also maintain a group of FTSE Indices that are related to environmental technologies and business activities (FTSE Environment Technology and Environmental Opportunities). The Catholic Values Index uses the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines (i.e. positive screening approach) to scrutinize eligible companies (e.g., corporations with generous wage and benefit policies, or those who create environmentally beneficial technologies). This index could also exclude certain businesses trading in “irresponsible” activities. listed businesses according to their social audit of four criteria: the company’s products, their impact on the environment, labor relations, and community relations. The latter “community relations” variable includes issues such as the treatment of indigenous people, provision of local credit, operations of overseas subsidiaries, and the like. The responsible companies are then featured in the Index when and if they meet Calvert’s criteria. This index also maintains a target economic sector weighting scheme. Other smaller indices include; Ethibel Sustainability Index for Belgian (and other European) companies and OMX GES Ethical Index for Scandinavian companies, among others.

 

Table 1. Screenings of Responsible Investments

Positive Screens Negative Screens
Community Investment Alcohol
Employment / Equality Animal Testing
Environment Defence / Weapons
Human Rights Gambling
Labour Relations Tobacco
Proxy Voting

 

Generally, these SRI indices are considered as investment benchmarks. In a nutshell, SRI Indices have spawned a range of products, including index mutual funds, ETFs, and structured products (Riedl and Smeets, 2017). A wide array of SRI mutual funds regularly evaluate target companies and manage their investment portfolios. Therefore, they are expected to consider other important criteria such as risk and return targets (Trinks et al., 2018; Leite and Cortez, 2015; Humphrey and Lee, 2011). For instance, iShares lists two ETFs based on the KLD Index funds, and the Domini itself offers a number of actively managed mutual funds based on both ESG and community development issues (such as impact investments). In addition, there are research and ratings vendors who also manage a series of mutual funds, including Calvert and Domini (Scalet and Kelly, 2010).

 

Discussion

The SRI indices serve as a ‘seal of approval’ function for the responsible businesses that want to prove their positive impact investment credentials to their stakeholders. Currently, there are many factors that may be contributing for the growth of SRI:

 

Firstly, one of the most important factors for the proliferation of SRI is the access to information. Today’s investors are increasingly using technologies, including mobile devices and their related applications to keep them up to date on the most recent developments in business and society. Certain apps inform investors on the latest movements in the financial markets, in real-time. Notwithstanding, the SRI contractors are providing much higher quality data than ever before. As a result, all investors are in a position to take informed decisions that are based on evidence and research. Investors and analysts use “extra-financial information” to help them analyze investment decisions (GRI, 2019; Diouf and Boiral, 2017). This “extra-financial information” includes ESG disclosures on non-financial issues (Brooks and Oikonomou, 2018). These sources of information will encourage many businesses and enterprises to report on their responsible and sustainable practices (Diouf and Boiral, 2017). The companies’ integrated thinking could be a precursor for their integrated reporting (Camilleri, 2018; 2017b; GRI, 2019). Business can use integrated disclosures, where they provide details on their financial as well as on their non-financial information for the benefit of prospective investors and analysts, among other stakeholders.

 

Secondly, the gender equality issue has inevitably led to some of the most significant developments in the financial services industry. Nowadays, there are more emancipated women who are in employment, who are gainfully occupied as they are actively contributing in the labor market. Many women are completing higher educational programs and attaining relevant qualifications including MBA programs. Very often, these women move their way up the career ladder with large organizations. They may even become members on boards of directors and assume fiduciary duties and responsibilities. Other women are becoming entrepreneurs as they start their own business. During the last decades, an increased equality in the developed economies has led to SRI’s prolific growth. As a result, women are no longer the only the beneficiaries of social finance, as they are building a complete ecosystem of social investing (Maretick, 2015). “By 2020 women are expected to hold $72trn, 32% of the total. Most of the private wealth that changes hands in the coming decades is likely to go to women (The Economist, 2018). This wave of wealth is set to land in the laps of female investors who have shown positive attitudes toward social investing, when compared to their male counterparts. Maretick (2015) reported that half of the wealthiest women expressed an interest in social and environmental investing when compared to one-third of the wealthy men.

 

Thirdly, today’s investors are increasingly diversifying their portfolio of financial products. The default investment is the market portfolio, which is a value-weighted portfolio of all investable securities (Trinks and Scholtens, 2017). A growing body of evidence suggests that many investors do not necessarily have to sacrifice performance when they invest in socially responsible or environmentally sustainable assets. A relevant literature review denied the contention that social screening could result in corporate underperformance (Trinks and Scholtens, 2017; Lobe and Walkshäusl, 2011; Salaber 2013). Investors have realized that strategic corporate responsibility is congruent with prosperity (Porter and Kramer, 2011; Schueth, 2003). In fact, today’s major asset classes including global, international, domestic equity, balanced and fixed-income categories also comprise top-performing socially responsible mutual funds (Riedl and Smeets, 2017). Therefore, various financial products are reflecting the investors’ values and beliefs (Fritz and von Schnurbein, 2019). Consequentially, the broad range of competitive socially responsible investment options have resulted in diverse, well-balanced portfolios. In the U.S. and in other western economies, top-performing SRI funds can be found in all major asset classes. More and more investors are realizing that they can add value to their portfolios whilst supporting socially and environmental causes.

 

Fourthly, there are economic justifications for the existence of mutual funds in diversified portfolios. Although SRI funds are rated well above average performers no matter which ranking process one prefers to use (Scalet and Kelly, 2010; Schueth, 2003), other literature suggests that there are situations where the positive or negative screens did not add nor destroy the financial products’ portfolio value (Auer, 2016; Trinks and Scholtens, 2017; Hofmann et al., 2009). This matter can result in having mixed investments where there are SRI products that are marketed with other financial portfolios.

Currently, the financial industry is witnessing a consumer-driven phenomenon as there is a surge in demand for social investments. This paper mentioned a number of organizations that have developed indices to measure the organizational behaviors and their laudable practices. Very often, their metrics rely on positive or negative screens that are used to define socially responsible and sustainable investments (Leite and Cortez, 2014; Hofmann et al., 2009). However, despite these developments, the balanced investors are still investing their portfolio in different industries. As a result, they may be putting their money to support controversial businesses. Perhaps, in the future there could be alternative screening methods in addition to the extant inclusionary and exclusionary approaches. Several corporations are willingly disclosing their integrated reporting of financial and non-financial performance; as stakeholders including investors, demand a higher degree of accountability and transparency from them (Diouf and Boiral, 2017). As a result, a growing number of firms, are recognizing the business case for integrated thinking that incorporates financial and strategic corporate responsible behaviors. They can support the community through positive impact investments by allocating funds to reduce their externalities in society. Alternatively, they may facilitate shareholder activism and advocacy, among other actions (Viviers and Eccles, 2012). In sum, the responsible businesses’ stakeholder engagement as well as their sustainable investments can help them improve their bottom lines, whilst addressing their societal and community deficits.

 

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Viviers, S. and Eccles, N.S. (2012), “35 years of socially responsible investing (SRI) research-general trends over time”, South African Journal of Business Management, Vol. 43, No. 4, pp. 1-16.

Willis, A. (2003), “The role of the global reporting initiative’s sustainability reporting guidelines in the social screening of investments”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp. 233-237.

Walker, H. and Brammer, S. (2009), “Sustainable procurement in the United Kingdom public sector”, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 128-137.

 

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Filed under Corporate Social Responsibility, Impact Investing, Marketing, Socially Responsible Investment, SRI

What is Corporate Citizenship?

The corporate citizenship term was typically used to describe the corporations that can contribute to the ethical, philanthropic and societal goals. Therefore, this notion is rooted in political science as it directs corporations to respond to non-market pressures.

Throughout the years, the corporate citizenship agenda has been wrought from distinctive corporate social responsibility (CSR) theories and approaches. Its conceptual foundations can be found in the CSR literature (e.g., Carroll, 1979), corporate social responsiveness (e.g., Clarkson, 1995), corporate social performance (e.g., Albinger & Freeman, 2000), the theory of the firm” (McWilliams & Siegel, 2001), stakeholder engagement (Strand & Freeman, 2013); and other enlightened ‘self-interest’ theories; as corporate citizenship can be a source of opportunity, innovation and competitive advantage (Camilleri, 2017a, 2017b; Porter & Kramer, 2006). For this reason, this concept continues to receive specific attention, particularly by those responsible businesses that are differentiating themselves through responsible and sustainable behaviours.

 

Literature Review

The multinational corporations (MNCs) have been (and still are) under pressure to exhibit “good corporate citizenship” in every country or market from where they run their business. MNCs are continuously monitored by their stakeholders, including regulatory authorities, creditors, investors, customers and the community at large. They are also being scrutinised by academic researchers. Several empirical studies have explored the individuals’ attitudes and perceptions toward corporate citizenship. Very often, their measurement involved quantitative analyses that investigated the corporations’ responsible behaviours (Camilleri, 2017a; 2017b). Other research has focused on the managerial perceptions about corporate citizenship (e.g., Basu & Palazzo, 2008). A number of similar studies have gauged corporate citizenship by adopting Fortune’s reputation index (Flanagan, O’Shaughnessy, & Palmer, 2011; Melo & Garrido‐Morgado, 2012), the KLD index (Dupire & M’Zali, 2018; Fombrun, 1998; Griffin & Mahon, 1997) or Van Riel and Fombrun’s (2007) Reptrak. Such measures expected the surveyed executives to assess the extent to which their company behaves responsibly toward the environment and the community (Fryxell and Wang, 1994).

Despite the wide usage of such measures in past research, the appropriateness of these indices still remains doubtful. For instance, Fortune’s reputation index failed to account for the multidimensionality of the corporate citizenship construct; as it is suspected to be more significant of management quality than of corporate citizenship (Waddock & Graves, 1997). Fortune’s past index suffered from the fact that its items were not based on theoretical arguments as they did not appropriately represent the economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary dimensions of the corporate citizenship construct.

Pinkston and Carroll (1994) identified four dimensions of corporate citizenship, including; orientations, stakeholders, issues and decision-making autonomy. They argued that by observing orientations, one may better understand the inclinations or the posturing behaviours of organisations with respect to corporate citizenship. Pinkston and Carroll (1994) sought to identify the stakeholder groups that are benefiting from the businesses’ corporate citizenship practices. They argued that the businesses’ decision-making autonomy determined at what organisational level they engaged in corporate citizenship. In a similar vein, Griffin and Mahon (1997) combined four estimates of corporate citizenship: Fortune’s reputation index, the KLD index, the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), and the rankings that are provided in the Directory of Corporate Philanthropy.

Singh, De los Salmones Sanchez and Rodriguez del Bosque (2007) adopted a multidimensional perspective on three domains, including; commercial responsibility, ethical responsibility and social responsibility. Firstly, they proposed that the commercial responsibility construct relates to the businesses’ responsibility to develop high quality products and truthful marketing communications of their products’ attributes and features among customers. Secondly, they maintained that ethical responsibility is concerned with the businesses fulfilling their obligations toward their shareholders, suppliers, distributors and other agents with whom they make their dealings. Singh et al. (2007) argued that ethical responsibility involves the respect for the human rights and norms that are defined in the law when carrying out business activities. They hinted that respecting ethical principles in business relationships has more priority than achieving superior economic performance. Their other domain, social responsibility is concerned about with corporate citizenship initiatives that are characterised by the businesses’ laudable behaviors (Camilleri, 2017c). The authors suggest that the big businesses could allocate part of their budget to the natural environment, philanthropy, or toward social works that supported the most vulnerable groups in society. This perspective supports the development of financing social and/or cultural activities and is also concerned with improving societal well-being (Singh et al., 2007).

Conclusion

There are several actors within a society, including the government and policy makers, businesses, marketplace stakeholders and civil society organisations among others (Camilleri, 2015). It is within this context that a relationship framework is required to foster corporate citizenship practices in order to enhance the businesses’ legitimacy amongst stakeholders (Camilleri, 2017; Camilleri, 2018). The corporate citizenship practices including socially responsible and environmentally sustainable practices may be triggered by the institutional and/or stakeholder pressures.

 

References

Albinger, H.S. & Freeman, S.J. (2000). Corporate social performance and attractiveness as an employer to different job seeking populations. Journal of Business Ethics, 28(3), 243-253.

Basu, K. & Palazzo, G. (2008). Corporate social responsibility: A process model of sensemaking, Academy of Management Review, 33(1), 122-136.

Camilleri, M. A. (2015). Valuing stakeholder engagement and sustainability reporting. Corporate Reputation Review18(3), 210-222.

Camilleri, M. A. (2017a). Corporate citizenship and social responsibility policies in the United States of America. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 8(1), 77-93.

Camilleri, M. A. (2017b). Corporate Social Responsibility Policy in the United States of America. In Corporate Social Responsibility in Times of Crisis (pp. 129-143). Springer, Cham.

Camilleri, M. A. (2017c). Corporate sustainability and responsibility: creating value for business, society and the environment. Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility2(1), 59-74.

Camilleri, M. A. (2018). Theoretical insights on integrated reporting: The inclusion of non-financial capitals in corporate disclosures. Corporate Communications: An International Journal. 23(4) 567-581.

Carroll, A.B. (1979). A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate performance. Academy of Management Review, 4(4), 497-505.

Dupire, M., & M’Zali, B. (2018). CSR strategies in response to competitive pressures. Journal of Business Ethics148(3), 603-623.

Flanagan, D. J., O’shaughnessy, K. C., & Palmer, T. B. (2011). Re-assessing the relationship between the Fortune reputation data and financial performance: overwhelming influence or just a part of the puzzle?. Corporate Reputation Review14(1), 3-14.

Fombrun, C.J. (1998). Indices of corporate reputation: An analysis of media rankings and social monitors’ ratings. Corporate Reputation Review, 1(4), 327-340.

Griffin J.J. & Mahon, J.F. (1997). The corporate social performance and corporate financial performance debate twenty-five years of incomparable research. Business & Society, 36(1), 5-31.

McWilliams, A. & Siegel, D. (2001). Corporate social responsibility: A theory of the firm perspective, Academy of Management Review, 26(1), 117-127.

Melo, T., & Garrido‐Morgado, A. (2012). Corporate reputation: A combination of social responsibility and industry. Corporate social responsibility and environmental management19(1), 11-31.

Pinkston, T.S. & Carroll, A.B. (1994). Corporate citizenship perspectives and foreign direct investment in the US. Journal of Business Ethics, 13(3), 157-169.

Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2006). The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility. Harvard business review84(12), 78-92.

Strand, R. & Freeman, R.E. (2013). Scandinavian cooperative advantage: The theory and practice of stakeholder engagement in Scandinavia, Journal of Business Ethics, 127(1), 65-85.

Singh, J. & Del Bosque, I.R. (2008). Understanding corporate social responsibility and product perceptions in consumer markets: A cross-cultural evaluation. Journal of Business Ethics, 80(3), 597-611.

Van Riel, C.B. & Fombrun, C.J. (2007). Essentials of corporate communication: Implementing practices for effective reputation management, Routledge, Oxford, UK and New York, USA.

Waddock, S.A. & Graves, S.B. (1997). The corporate social performance-financial performance link, Strategic Management Journal, 18(4), 303-319.


This is an excerpt from one of my contributions that will appear in Springer’s Encyclopedia of Sustainable Management.

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Market Research – Whose job is it?

untitledWho should carry out the research is a very valid question. Do the marketing managers have the right skills and competences to do it themselves? Are they assigning an agency to do this job for them? These are basic considerations to take into account when addressing the captioned question.

Can the businesses dedicate sufficient time and resources to carry out the research themselves? The quality of the data to be collected during fieldwork may be threatened if the sponsor is identified as the surveyor. Marketing managers are expected to act in an assertive and vocal manner. They can sometimes encounter difficulties in adopting a neutral role, particularly when they are researching the market. However, it is important for managers to engage with customers. The research fieldwork would surely increase their understanding of the market in which they operate. It would also give them a better idea of what to expect from other researchers. It may be possible for the marketing managers to get involved in the fieldwork during the pilot stage of the questionnaire.

This will give them a greater appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of the questionnaire. Most businesses that are serious about customer-centric marketing will have dedicated market research departments; with at least some skilled and experienced members of staff, who would be capable of gathering and analysing data. For instance, airlines use their own staff to carry out day-to-day market research, including an ongoing flight survey analysis. However, airlines may occasionally recruit external  research consultants. External researchers will work in a more objective manner than internal researchers. They will also bring fresh ideas with them.

When external research is commissioned, the role of the airlines’ managers is to define the research problem. They are expected to specify to the researchers their objectives, and to clarify on the information required. It is crucial that they act on the research results after they have been carefully analysed and processed.

Preparing a Brief
The business that is commissioning research should consider a list of specialised agencies which may be appropriate for them. They should choose a reputable research organisation according to its capabilities and expertise. Once a research organisation is chosen, the business should provide a brief to the research organisation, which should include; the business and research objectives; suggestions on how market and consumer data can be collected; the type of research being envisioned (by clearly indicating what are the businesses expectations from this project); question areas to be covered during the research; a realistic time table; and a budget:

research brief

Some may argue that, by revealing to the agency that a large amount of money is available, there is a danger that they will find ways to spend the budgeted figures. It is advisable that the commissioning business will ask for quotes from several research agencies before committing itself with one of them.

The Research Agency’s Proposal
After the agency has been briefed, the agencies should then return a proposal to the business, by an agreed date. The proposal could include the following elements:

a) Statement of objectives: A statement of objectives should clearly reflect the list of objectives that were presented to them, in the brief;

b) Description of how the research will be done: This includes a description of the various research methods that will be used for data collection. They should give details on the sampling method. A breakdown of questionnaire content should be included, as should details on all the data analytical processes to be undertaken. That is, the coding of data and the statistical analysis of quantitative findings. Alternatively, they could explain how qualitative data will be analysed, et cetera. The agency should justify its decision for adopting specific methodologies;

c) Reporting: The proposal should highlight how the research findings will be presented. The proposal should give details on the presentation and tabulation of results.

d) Costs: The agency should also present a clear breakdown of the individual costs for the research project.

Implementation of the Research Plan
Once the management has defined the problem, delineated their research objectives and decided on what information they require, they should proceed to the next stage of the research process. They are expected to design the survey questionnaire and / or prepare a brief for their field interviews.

When the questionnaires have been constructed and tested, it’s time for them to start gathering the data. This entails engaging with a sample of respondents, and examining other research options. This process should be closely monitored (by the marketing manager or the research agency, as appropriate) to ensure that the collected data is valid, reliable and trustworthy.

This stage is the most expensive part of the data collection process, and the agency or the organisations’ management should continuously monitor how the research is being is carried out.

The members of staff who are gathering data have be objective whilst collecting their data, throughout the research fieldwork.

Data Analysis
Having collected the data, marketers must then interpret their findings. Interpretation is easier if the data analytical methods are carefully planned in the research process. The results of the collected data may be a large pile of completed survey questionnaires (if the researchers have used printed questionnaires). Alternatively, the researchers could have annotated their qualitative data in the form of transcripts. The way how the gathered data is analysed and presented is an influential factor of how valuable the research will be. Many research agencies are increasingly using computer software packages to statistically analyse their quantitative findings.

The researchers will draw their own conclusions in writing and may also use data tables. The statistical analyses usually focus on the results, and on what deviates from the variable being measured. These findings will be analysed and interpreted by the researchers, and presented to the respective marketing managers. It is important that they will be in a position to understand the main findings and the research implications.

Preparation and Presentation of a Research Report
The following section provides a useful guideline of what should be featured in a research report. The report will communicate the research findings and the implications of study to the decision makers. Key elements in the report are presented here:

1) Title Page (this area lists the title, client, research agency, date, et cetera);

2) List of Contents;

3) Preface;

4) Summary of the Findings or Conclusions (the summary of the main findings may be accompanied by recommendations);

Points 1-4 provide a concise report of the nature and outcome of the research programme.

5) Previous Related Research (This section indicates how previous knowledge may have a bearing on the research at hand);

6) Research Method (Procedures that are used to collect information; How was the research conducted? – How was the research carried out? – Who were the research participants? – What were the research techniques that were used in the analysis? – The characteristics and size of samples should also be recorded;

7) Results (It is important to provide clear, simple and a logical presentation of the research findings. The results are usually presented through paragraphs, tables and graphs);

8) Conclusions;

9) Appendices.

Points 5-9 provide the detailed evidence from which conclusions, implications and recommendation are derived.

Generally, a report seldom provides answers to all of the research questions under investigation. Thus, the research limitations will have to be pointed out in the report, along with reasonable explanations of the potential weaknesses of the research methodologies, sampling frames and analytical techniques that were employed in the study. Moreover, the research report will only be valuable to the commissioning business it the marketing managers would make a good use of its key findings and recommendations.

 


This is a excerpt from one of my latest chapters.

How to Cite: Camilleri, M. A. (2018). Understanding customer needs and wants. In Travel marketing, tourism economics and the airline product (pp. 29-50). Springer, Cham. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-49849-2_2

 

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The Students’ Engagement with Mobile Learning Technologies

These are excerpts from our latest academic article.

How to Cite: Camilleri, M.A. & Camilleri, A.C. (2019). The Students’ Readiness to Engage with Mobile Learning Apps. Interactive Technology and Smart Education. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/ITSE-06-2019-0027/full/html


Hand-held mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets allow individuals, including students, to access and review online (educational) content from virtually anywhere. The mobile applications (apps) can provide instant access to the schools’ learning resources (Camilleri & Camilleri, 2019b; Sánchez & Isaías, 2017; Cheon, Lee, Crooks & Song, 2012). Therefore, they are increasingly being utilized in the context of primary education to improve the student experience. Relevant theoretical underpinnings reported that more primary level students are utilizing mobile learning technologies to engage with their instructors (Rodríguez, Riaza & Gómez, 2017; Sánchez & Isaías, 2018). Notwithstanding, it is much easier for the younger pupils to mobile apps to read eBooks, as hard-copy textbooks need to be carried in their bags. Arguably, the proliferation of portable technologies like tablets are lighter and less bulky than laptop computers. Hence, primary school students can easily use mobile technologies anywhere, beyond the traditional classroom environment (Rodríguez et al., 2017). Currently, there is a wide variety of educational apps that are readily available on a wide array of mobile devices (Chee, Yahaya, Ibrahim &Hasan, 2017; Domingo & Garganté, 2016). Such interactive technologies can improve the delivery of quality education as teachers provide direct feedback to their students, in real time. Some of the mobile apps can even engage primary school students in immersive learning experiences (Camilleri & Camilleri,2019c; Isaias, Reis, Coutinho & Lencastre, 2017).

On the other hand, other academic literature posited that some students may not want to engage in mobile learning. Very often, commentators implied that the mobile technologies have their own limitations (Cheon et al., 2012; Wang, Wu & Wang, 2009). A few practitioners contended that mobile devices had small screens with low resolutions. Alternatively, some argued about their slow connection speeds, or pointed out that they lacked standardization features  (Sánchez & Isaías, 2017; Camilleri & Camilleri,2017).

As a matter of fact, Android, Apple and Microsoft Windows have different operating systems. As a result, learning apps may have to be customized to be compatible with such systems. Moreover, individuals, including primary school students may hold different attitudes towards the use of mobile devices. There may be students who may be motivated to engage with mobile technologies (Sánchez & Isaias, 2018; Ciampa, 2014) as they use these devices to play games, watch videos, or to chat with their friends, online (Wang et al., 2009). In this case, the primary school students may use their mobile devices for hedonic reasons, rather than to engage in mobile learning activities. Such usage of the mobile technologies can possibly result in undesired educational outcomes. Nevertheless, those primary level students who already own or have instant access to a mobile device may easily become habitual users of this technology; as they use it for different purposes. However, there is still limited research in academia that explores these students’ readiness to engage in mobile learning at home, and at school.


Results

The findings in this study are consistent with the argument that digital natives are increasingly immersing themselves in digital technologies (Bourgonjon et al., 2010), including educational games (Camilleri & Camilleri,2019; Ge & Ifenthaler, 2018; Carvalho et al., 2015, Wouters et al., 2013). However, the results have shown that there was no significant relationship between the perceived ease of the gameplay and the children’s enjoyment in them. Furthermore, the stepwise regression analysis revealed that there was no significant relationship between the normative expectations and the children’s engagement with the educational apps; although it was evident (from the descriptive statistics) that the parents were encouraging their children to play the games at home and at school. This research relied on previously tried and tested measures that were drawn from the educational technology literature in order to explore the hypothesized relationships. There is a common tendency in academic literature to treat the validity and reliability of quantitative measures from highly cited empirical papers as given.

Future studies may use different sampling frames, research designs and methodologies to explore this topic. To the best of our knowledge, there is no other empirical study that has validated the technology acceptance model within a primary school setting. Further work is needed to replicate the findings of this research in a similar context.


References (the full bibliography of this paper)

Ajzen, I. (1991), “The theory of planned behavior”, Organization Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 179-211.

Bourgonjon, J., Valcke, M., Soetaert, R., and Schellens, T. (2010), “Students’ perceptions about the use of educational games in the classroom”, Computers & Education, Vol. 54, No. 4, pp. 1145-1156.

Burguillo, J.C. (2010), “Using game theory and competition-based learning to stimulate student motivation and performance”, Computers & Education, Vol. 55, No. 2, pp. 566-575.

Camilleri, M.A. and Camilleri, A. (2017a), “The Technology Acceptance of Mobile Applications in Education”, In Sánchez, I.A. & Isaias, P. (Eds) 13th International Conference on Mobile Learning (Budapest, 11th April). Proceedings, pp 41-48. International Association for Development of the Information Society.

Camilleri, M.A., and Camilleri, A.C. (2017b), “Digital learning resources and ubiquitous technologies in education”, Technology, Knowledge and Learning, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 65-82.

Camilleri, M. A., and  Camilleri, A. (2019a), “Student Centred Learning Through Serious Games”, 13th Annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference. Valencia, Spain (March, 2019). International Academy of Technology, Education and Development (IATED).

Camilleri, A.C., and Camilleri, M.A. (2019b), “Mobile Learning via Educational Apps: An Interpretative Study”. In Shun-Wing N.G., Fun, T.S. & Shi, Y. (Eds.) 5th International Conference on Education and Training Technologies (ICETT 2019). Seoul, South Korea (May, 2019). International Economics Development and Research Center (IEDRC).

Camilleri, A.C., and Camilleri, M.A. (2019c), “The Students Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations to Engage with Digital Learning Games”, In Shun-Wing N.G., Fun, T.S. & Shi, Y. (Eds.) 5th International Conference on Education and Training Technologies (ICETT 2019). Seoul, South Korea (May, 2019). International Economics Development and Research Center (IEDRC).

Carvalho, M.B., Bellotti, F., Berta, R., De Gloria, A., Sedano, C.I., Hauge, H.B., Hu, J., and Rauterberg, M. (2015), “An activity theory-based model for serious games analysis and conceptual design”, Computers & Education, Vol. 87, pp.166-181.

Chang, C.T., Hajiyev, J., and Su, C.R. (2017), “Examining the students’ behavioral intention to use e-learning in Azerbaijan? The general extended technology acceptance model for e-learning approach”, Computers & Education, Vol. 111, pp. 128-143.

Chee, K. N., Yahaya, N., Ibrahim, N. H., and Hasan, M. N. (2017). Review of mobile learning trends 2010-2015: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Technology & Society20(2), 113-126.

Chen, K. C. and Jang, S. J. (2010), “Motivation in online learning: Testing a model of self-determination theory”, Computers in Human Behavior, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp. 741-752.

Cheon, J., Lee, S., Crooks, S. M. and Song, J. (2012), “An investigation of mobile learning readiness in higher education based on the theory of planned behavior”, Computers & Education, Vol. 59, No. 3, pp. 1054-1064.

Ciampa, K. (2014), “Learning in a mobile age: an investigation of student motivation”, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 82-96.

Connolly, T.M., Boyle, E.A., MacArthur, E.  Hainey, T., and Boyle, J.M. (2012), “A systematic literature review of empirical evidence on computer games and serious games”, Computers & Education, Vol. 59, No. 2, pp. 661-686.

Davis, F.D. (1989), “Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology”, MIS Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 319-340.

Davis, F.D., Bagozzi, R.P., and Warshaw, P.R. (1989), “User acceptance of computer technology: a comparison of two theoretical models”, Management Science, Vol. 35, No. 8, pp. 982-1003.

Dickey, M.D. (2011), “Murder on Grimm Isle: The impact of game narrative design in an educational game‐based learning environment”, British Journal of Education Technology, Vol. 42, No.  3, pp. 456-469.

Domingo, M. G. and Garganté, A. B. (2016). Exploring the use of educational technology in primary education: Teachers’ perception of mobile technology learning impacts and applications’ use in the classroom. Computers in Human Behavior, Vol. 56, pp. 21-28.

Dunne, Á., Lawlor, M. A., and Rowley, J. (2010), “Young people’s use of online social networking sites–a uses and gratifications perspective”, Journal of Research in International Marketing,. Vol. 4, No. 1, pp.  46-58.

Ge, X., and Ifenthaler, D. (2018), “Designing engaging educational games and assessing engagement in game-based learning”, In Gamification in Education: Breakthroughs in Research and Practice, IGI Global, Hershey, USA, pp. 1-19.

Harris, J. Mishra, P., and Koehler, M. (2009), “Teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge and learning activity types: Curriculum-based technology integration reframed”, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 393-416.

Huang, W.H., Huang, W.Y., and Tschopp, J. (2010), “Sustaining iterative game playing processes in DGBL: The relationship between motivational processing and outcome processing”,  Computers & Education, Vol. 55, No. 2, pp. 789-97.

Hwang, G.J., and Wu, P.H.  (2012), “Advancements and trends in digital game‐based learning research: a review of publications in selected journals from 2001 to 2010”, British. Journal of Education Technology, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp. E6-E10.

Isaias, P., Reis, F., Coutinho, C. and Lencastre, J. A. (2017), “Empathic technologies for distance/mobile learning: An empirical research based on the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT)”, Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 159-180.

Lee, M. K., Cheung, C. M., and Chen, Z. (2005), “Acceptance of Internet-based learning medium: the role of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation”, Information & Management,. Vol. 42, No. 8, pp. 1095-1104.

Li, H., Liu, Y., Xu, X., Heikkilä, J., and Van Der Heijden, H. (2015), “Modeling hedonic is continuance through the uses and gratifications theory: An empirical study in online games”, Computers in Human Behavior, Vol. 48, pp. 261-272.

Park, S.Y. (2009), “An analysis of the technology acceptance model in understanding university students’ behavioral intention to use e-learning”, Education. Technology & Society, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 150-162.

Park, S. Y., Nam, M. W., and Cha, S. B. (2012), “University students’ behavioral intention to use mobile learning: Evaluating the technology acceptance model”, British Journal of Education Technology, Vol. 43, No. 4, pp. 592-605.

Rodríguez, A. I., Riaza, B. G., & Gómez, M. C. S. (2017), “Collaborative learning and mobile devices: An educational experience in Primary Education”, Computers in Human Behavior, Vol. 72, pp. 664-677.

Ryan, R. M., and Deci, E. L. (2000), “Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions”, Contemporary Education Psychology, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 54-67.

Sánchez, I. A., & Isaías, P. (2017), “Proceedings of the International Association for Development of the Information Society (IADIS)”, International Conference on Mobile Learning (13th, Budapest, Hungary, April 10-12, 2017). International Association for Development of the Information Society.

Sánchez, I. A., & Isaias, P. (2018), “Proceedings of the International Association for Development of the Information Society (IADIS)”, International Conference on Mobile Learning (14th, Lisbon, Portugal, April 14-16, 2018). International Association for Development of the Information Society.

Teo, T., Beng Lee, C., Sing Chai, C., and Wong, S.L. (2009), “Assessing the intention to use technology among pre-service teachers in Singapore and Malaysia: A multigroup invariance analysis of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM)”, Computers & Education, Vol. 53, No. 3, pp. 1000-1009.

Venkatesh, V., Morris, M.G., Davis, G.B. and Davis, F.D. (2003), “User acceptance of information technology: Toward a unified view”, MIS Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 425-478.

Venkatesh, V., Thong, Y.T.L., and Xu, X. (2012), “Consumer acceptance and use of information technology: extending the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology”, MIS Quarterly, Vol. 36, No.1, pp. 157-178.

Wang, Y. S., Wu, M. C., & Wang, H. Y. (2009), “Investigating the determinants and age and gender differences in the acceptance of mobile learning”, British Journal of Educational technology, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 92-118.

Wouters, P., Van Nimwegen, C., Van Oostendorp, H., and Van Der Spek, E.D. (2013), “A meta-analysis of the cognitive and motivational effects of serious games”,  Journal of Education Psychology,  Vol. 105, No.  2, pp. 249-266.


Related Publications

Camilleri, M.A. & Camilleri, A.C. (2019). The Acceptance and Use of Mobile Learning Applications in Higher Education. In Pfennig, A. & Chen, K.C. (Eds.) 3rd International Conference on Education and eLearning (ICEEL2019), Barcelona, Spain.

Camilleri, A.C. & Camilleri, M.A. (2019). The Students’ Perceived Use, Ease of Use and Enjoyment of Educational Games at Home and at School. 13th Annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference. Valencia, Spain (March, 2019). International Academy of Technology, Education and Development (IATED).Download this paper

Camilleri, M.A. & Camilleri, A. (2017). The Students’ Perceptions of Digital Game-Based Learning. In Pivec, M. & Grundler, J. (Ed.) 11th European Conference on Games Based Learning  (October). Proceedings, pp. 52-62, H JOANNEUM University of Applied Science, Graz, Austria, pp 56-62. http://toc.proceedings.com/36738webtoc.pdf Download this paper

Camilleri, M.A. & Camilleri, A. (2017). Measuring The Educators’ Behavioural Intention, Perceived Use And Ease Of Use Of Mobile Technologies. In Wood, G. (Ed) Re-connecting management research with the disciplines: Shaping the research agenda for the social sciences (University of Warwick, September). Proceedings, pp., British Academy of Management, UK. http://conference.bam.ac.uk/BAM2017/htdocs/conference_papers.php?track_name=%20Knowledge%20and%20Learning Download this paper

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Filed under Education, education technology, internet technologies, internet technologies and society, Marketing, Mobile, mobile learning

Announcing a Call for Chapters (for Springer)

Strategic Corporate Communication and Stakeholder Engagement in the Digital Age

 

Abstract submission deadline: 30th September 2019
Full chapters due: 31st December 2019

 

Background

The latest advances in technologies and networks have been central to the expansion of electronic content across different contexts. Contemporary communication approaches are crossing boundaries as new media are offering both challenges and opportunities. The democratisation of the production and dissemination of information via the online technologies has inevitably led individuals and organisations to share content (including images, photos, news items, videos and podcasts) via the digital and social media. Interactive technologies are allowing individuals and organisations to co-create and manipulate electronic content. At the same time, they enable them to engage in free-flowing conversations with other online users, groups or virtual communities (Camilleri, 2017). Innovative technologies have empowered the organisations’ stakeholders, including; employees, investors, customers, local communities, government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as the news media, among others. Both internal and external stakeholders are in a better position to scrutinise the organisations’ decisions and actions. For this reason, there is scope for the practitioners to align their corporate communication goals and activities with the societal expectations (Camilleri, 2015; Gardberg & Fombrun, 2006). Therefore, organisations are encouraged to listen to their stakeholders. Several public interest organisations, including listed businesses, banks and insurance companies are already sharing information about their financial and non-financial performance in an accountable and transparent manner. The rationale behind their corporate disclosures is to develop and maintain strong and favourable reputations among stakeholders (Camilleri, 2018; Cornelissen, 2008). The corporate reputation is “a perceptual representation of a company’s past actions and future prospects that describe the firm’s overall appeal to all of its key constituents when compared to other leading rivals” (Fombrun, 1996).

Business and media practitioners ought to be cognisant about the strategic role of corporate communication in leveraging the organisations’ image and reputation among stakeholders (Van Riel & Fombrun, 2007). They are expected to possess corporation communication skills as they need to forge relationships with different stakeholder groups (including employees, customers, suppliers, investors, media, regulatory authorities and the community at large). They have to be proficient in specialist areas, including; issues management, crises communication as well as in corporate social responsibility reporting, among other topics. At the same time, they should be aware about the possible uses of different technologies, including; artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, big data analytics, blockchain and internet of things, among others; as these innovative tools are disrupting today’s corporate communication processes.

 

Objective

This title shall explain how strategic communication and media management can affect various political, economic, societal and technological realities. Theoretical and empirical contributions can shed more light on the existing structures, institutions and cultures that are firmly founded on the communication technologies, infrastructures and practices. The rapid proliferation of the digital media has led both academics and practitioners to increase their interactive engagement with a multitude of stakeholders. Very often, they are influencing regulators, industries, civil society organisations and activist groups, among other interested parties. Therefore, this book’s valued contributions may include, but are not restricted to, the following topics:

 

Artificial Intelligence and Corporate Communication

Augmented and Virtual Reality in Corporate Communication

Blockchain and Corporate Communication

Big Data and Analytics in Corporate Communication

Branding and Corporate Reputation

Corporate Communication via Social Media

Corporate Communication Policy

Corporate Culture

Corporate Identity

Corporate Social Responsibility Communications

Crisis, Risk and Change Management

Digital Media and Corporate Communication

Employee Communications

Fake News and Corporate Communication

Government Relationships

Integrated Communication

Integrated Reporting of Financial and Non-Financial Performance

Internet Technologies and Corporate Communication

Internet of Things and Corporate Communication

Investor Relationships

Issues Management and Public Relations

Leadership and Change Communication

Marketing Communications

Measuring the Effectiveness of Corporate Communications

Metrics for Corporate Communication Practice

Press and Media Relationships

Stakeholder Management and Communication

Strategic Planning and Communication Management

 

This publication shall present the academics’ conceptual discussions that cover the contemporary topic of corporate communication in a concise yet accessible way. Covering both theory and practice, this publication shall introduce its readers to the key issues of strategic corporate communication as well as stakeholder management in the digital age. This will allow prospective practitioners to critically analyse future, real-life situations. All chapters will provide a background to specific topics as the academic contributors should feature their critical perspectives on issues, controversies and problems relating to corporate communication.

This authoritative book will provide relevant knowledge and skills in corporate communication that is unsurpassed in readability, depth and breadth. At the start of each chapter, the authors will prepare a short abstract that summarises the content of their contribution. They are encouraged to include descriptive case studies to illustrate real situations, conceptual, theoretical or empirical contributions that are meant to help aspiring managers and executives in their future employment. In conclusion, each chapter shall also contain a succinct summary that should outline key implications (of the findings) to academia and / or practitioners, in a condensed form. This will enable the readers to retain key information.

 

Target Audience

This textbook introduces aspiring practitioners as well as under-graduate and post-graduate students to the subject of corporate communication – in a structured manner. More importantly, it will also be relevant to those course instructors who are teaching media, marketing communications and business-related subjects in higher education institutions, including; universities and colleges. It is hoped that course conveners will use this edited textbook as a basis for class discussions.

 

Submission Procedure

Senior and junior academic researchers are invited to submit a 300-word abstract on or before the 30th June 2019. Submissions should be sent to Mark.A.Camilleri@um.edu.mt. Authors will be notified about the editorial decision during July 2019. The length of the chapters should be between 6,000- 8,000 words (including references, figures and tables). These contributions will be accepted on or before the 31st December 2019. The references should be presented in APA style (Version 6). All submitted chapters will be critically reviewed on a double-blind review basis. The authors’ and the reviewers’ identities will remain anonymous. All authors will be requested to serve as reviewers for this book. They will receive a notification of acceptance, rejection or suggested modifications – on or before the 15th February 2020.

Note: There are no submission or acceptance fees for the publication of this book. All abstracts / proposals should be submitted via the editor’s email.

 

Editor

Mark Anthony Camilleri (Ph.D. Edinburgh)
Department of Corporate Communication,
Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences,
University of Malta, MALTA.
Email: mark.a.camilleri@um.edu.mt

 

Publisher

Following the double-blind peer review process, the full chapters will be submitted to Springer Nature for final review. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit https://www.springer.com/gp. This prospective publication will be released in 2020.

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Filed under Business, Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR, digital media, ESG Reporting, Integrated Reporting, internet technologies, internet technologies and society, Marketing, online, Shared Value, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability

Delivering service quality to increase brand loyalty

IMG-5907(C) M.A. Camilleri

This is an excerpt from my latest academic article.

How to Cite: Rather, R. A. & Camilleri, M.A. (2019). The effects of service quality and consumer-brand value congruity on hospitality brand loyalty, Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research. https://doi.org/10.1080/13032917.2019.1650289

This study has proved that the combined effects of value congruity and service quality can have an impact on consumer-brand identification and engagement. The results from this study indicated that the consumer-brand identification as well as consumer-brand engagement were predicting the consumers’ loyalty toward the brand. The findings also reported that consumer-brand identification, perceived service quality as well as value congruity were significant antecedents of consumer-brand engagement. In addition, the service quality and value congruity had moderate, direct effects on consumer brand identification. Furthermore, the empirical results revealed that consumer brand identification has mediated the relationships between value congruity and brand loyalty, and between service quality and brand loyalty.

In a similar vein, a critical analysis of the relevant literature revealed that consumer-brand relationships are dependent on the customers’ identification with their favorite brands (Çifci et al., 2016; Rather & Camilleri, 2019; Rather, 2018; Tuskej & Podnar, 2018; So et al., 2013; 2014). Specifically, the consumer-brand identification is related with the consumer-brand value congruity (Rather, 2018). As a matter of fact, past research also reported that consumer-brand identification has a positive effect on customer behaviors and attitudes (in terms of loyalty and commitment) (Rather & Camilleri, 2019). However, in this case, the findings of this study suggest that both the consumer-brand value congruity and perceived service quality are the significant antecedents of consumer-brand identification and engagement.

The consumer-brand identification will inevitably trigger supporting behaviors like increased purchase / repurchase intentions (e.g., Kuenzel & Halliday, 2008) or positive word-of-mouth recommendations (Tuskej et al., 2013), among other positive outcomes. Therefore, hospitality practitioners ought to nurture physical and virtual relationships with their stakeholders via a multitude of approaches, if they want them to remain loyal to their business (Dedeoğlu & Demirer, 2015). Public activities such as sponsorship, charity events, social campaigns and so on can be used to enhance the brands’ image among interested parties, including customers (Bhattacharya & Sen, 2003). For this reason, several hospitality brands are increasingly engaging in interactive communications either individually or in groups, via digital technologies, including social media, blogs, v-blogs, video clips, review sites, etc. (Camilleri, 2018a; So et al., 2017; Su, Mariadoss, & Reynolds, 2015). Very often, individuals are intrigued to share their travel experiences, including their hotel accommodation (Camilleri, 2018b).

In a nutshell, this contribution posited that the hotel guests will probably engage and remain loyal to particular hospitality brands if they feel and perceive that their values reflect their own values. This study reported that the consumer-brand value congruity had a very significant effect on the consumers’ identification and engagement with the upscale hospitality brands. It indicated that the hotel guests who have experienced excellent service quality are more likely to share their experience with other individuals. Hence, hospitality managers need to ensure that their brand consistently delivers high levels of tangible and intangible service quality (at all times) to their valued guests in order to create long-lasting relationships with them.

The hotels’ provision of the service quality and brand experience ought to meet and exceed their guests’ expectations to satisfy their self-enhancement needs and their sense of well-being.

 

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A SWOT Analysis of the Marketing Environment of Higher Education Institutions

This is an excerpt from a recent Working Paper.

How to Cite: Camilleri, M.A. (2019). The Internationalization of Higher Education in a Competitive Marketing Environment. Working Paper 0506-2019, Department of Corporate Communication, University of Malta, Malta.


Strengths

  • Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) raise their financial capital requirements by charging tuition fees to full time, part time and distance learning students; Government-funded HEIs may provide free or reduced tuition fees;
  • Many international courses are taught in English; The English language has become an important lever for international student mobility (ICEF, 2017);
  • Several HEIs provide work-integrated education; they deliver pragmatic, application-oriented programs. The students are may be expected to undertake industry placements as part of their studies. Therefore work-integrated education (WIE) may be a component of the HEIs’ curriculum.
  • Work-integrated education supports students to become all-round professionals with an appropriate level of operational experience. It equips students with a thorough understanding of the business and industry’s operations. WIE would usually take place in an organizational context that is relevant to the students’ future employment prospects. At the same time, the students would obtain communicative and transferable skills that will be valuable for their development. The focus is to help them acquire a range of valuable generic abilities, including people-skills through interactions with peers, subordinates and supervisors. After their working period, the students will be in a position to apply the theories that they have learnt in real-life settings. Hence, students develop their knowledge and skills in a professional environment, whilst increasing the chances of their employability prospects (Kolb & Kolb, 2005);
  • HEIs are increasingly establishing international collaboration agreements with other educational institutions, across borders. They enable student exchange programs and field trips. The classroom teaching is enriched with student exchanges and field trips that provide students relevant on-the-job training;
  • HEIs are building their alumni networks over the years. Many of their students have become business and industry professionals.
  • HEIs are often engaging with business and industry as they provide their consultancy and research services;
  • HEIs offer Executive Development Programs to industry practitioners, allowing them to update their skills, and to broaden their knowledge.

Weaknesses

  • Many HEIs are not managed as profitable organizations;
  • HEIs’ academic employees may become members in trade unions. The unions can use their bargaining power on the university’s administration;
  • HEIs can be slow to respond to the ongoing changes in the business and industry. They may need to adapt their curricula and courses to better meet the prospective employers’ requirements;
  • The HEIs’ academic members of staff may have long contact hours with their students (when compared to other institutions);
  • The HEIs’ academia are not always publishing adequate and sufficient research (when compared to other institutions);
  • The HEIs’ prospective students may be attracted to competitive institutions who are offering cheaper tuition fees. The international prospects will consider the HEIs’ locations and their living expenses;
  • The HEIs’ international marketing efforts may be focusing on limited catchment areas. They may be overlooking promising markets (Constantinides & Zinck Stagno, 2011).

Opportunities

  • HEIs may use educational technology to improve their students’ experience. Educational technologies could enhance the quality of online courses, particularly those that are offered to part-time, or distance learning students;
  • HEIs can utilize blogs, RSS feeds, podcasts, wikis, electronic fora, webinars, et cetera to reach their target audiences. They may use social media and word of mouth marketing by communicating student testimonials, online reviews and ratings, in order to attract students from different markets;
  • HEIs could incentivize their educators and researchers to participate in academic conferences and to publish their work in highly-indexed journals;
  • The setting up of research (or special interest) groups could improve collaboration and teamwork among the HEIs’ members of staff;
  • HEIs’ academics should be encouraged to become members in editorial boards of leading journals;
  • HEIs can offer high-level consultancy and professional advisory services to private and public organizations;
  • HEIs may organize international conferences and fora that can be used as a platform for insightful exchange amongst academics, industry practitioners and tourism policy-makers;
  • HEIs can engage with alumni by involving them in social events, webinars and continuous professional development programs;
  • Industry professionals can be invited to speak to students on specific subject lectures. These experts may help students gain a deeper understanding of the industry;
  • HEIs’ academia should be encouraged to share their research expertise with business and industry to pioneer developments. They should promote their research outputs (Duque, 2014; Parameswaran & Glowacka, 1995). Relevant research can enhance industry performance and influence policy making;
  • HEIs can extend collaborative agreements in many areas, with reputable education institutions;
  • HEIs can obtain quality assurance and accreditations from international awarding bodies, for their educational programs. The recognition of their courses would necessitate a thorough assessment of their leadership, curriculum programs and skills, assessment methods, project work, student placements, student support, feedback and resources, et cetera;
  • The HEIs’ international admissions pages should evidence their ‘global perspective’ and could highlight their extensive range of services they offer to international students. For example, their course prospectus should be available in different languages;
  • There is an increased demand for higher education from mature students as the concept of life-long learning is being promoted in developing and advanced economies;
  • There are still untapped markets in Asia where students can’t access quality education at home. There is a business case to attract students from Africa as the continent’s youth population is rising (British Council, 2018);
  • The HEIs’ international students could be used as brand ambassadors and should be featured in their digital media;
  • HEIs may be supported by student scholarships (from governments, foundations or NGOs) and sponsorships that may be donated by industry partners.

Threats

  • Many HEIs’ national governments have already decreased (or cut) their public funding to HEIs (Estermann, 2017; Estermann, Nokkala & Steinel, 2011; Hoecht, 2006; Maton, 2005). Therefore, HEIs may have to raise their capital requirements through tuition fees and fund-raising activities;
  • There is a very competitive environment (in the global market). HEIs are increasingly targeting international students from many markets;
  • Many countries (including developing economies) have improved (or are improving) their educational systems. However, there may be students who decide to go abroad because they believe that there is neither capacity nor high-quality education at their home country (ICEF, 2017);
  • The ageing populations in many parts of the world, their greater life expectancies, coupled with lower fertility rates, means that populations in many countries are getting older. At the same time, the 15-to-24-year-old cohorts are shrinking. This key college-aged demographic will peak in Asia somewhere around 2020. Then it will start a gradual decline from that high point (British Council, 2018);
  • There may be political, socio-cultural and legal factors affecting the marketing of HEIs. International students may face travel restrictions. Rigorous travel formalities including the issuance of national visas and immigration policies, can affect the students choice of their prospective HEI;
  • Reduced scholarships and student exchange programs from foreign governments can have an impact on the number of students who may afford international mobility;
  • A growing number of Asian students are choosing to stay within their own region to study, and students from other countries – including African nations– are adding Asian destinations to their list of attractive options. Asian countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, among others, are increasing their capacity to absorb international students. Students and families are placing more emphasis on value, and on the return on investment from overseas education. Therefore, students may opt to study close to their home;
  • There are growing indications that major employers are placing less emphasis on reputable HEIs and their brand identities (ICEF, 2017).

References (of the full paper)

Altbach,P.G. 2004.Globalisation and the university: Myths and realities in an unequal world. Tertiary Education and Management,10(1): 3-25.

Altbach, P. G., Reisberg, L., & Rumbley, L. E. 2009. Trends in global higher education: Tracking an academic revolution. A Report for UNESCO World Conference of Higher Education. http://www.cep.edu.rs/public/Altbach,_Reisberg,_Rumbley_Tracking_an_Academic_Revolution,_UNESCO_2009.pdf accessed 20th February, 2018.

Beine, M., Noël, R., & Ragot, L. 2014. Determinants of the international mobility of students. Economics of Education review, 41: 40-54.

Bharadwaj, S. G., Varadarajan, P. R., & Fahy, J. 1993. Sustainable competitive advantage in service industries: a conceptual model and research propositions. The Journal of Marketing, 57(4): 83-99.

Binsardi, A., & Ekwulugo, F. 2003. International marketing of British education: research on the students’ perception and the UK market penetration. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 21(5): 318-327.

British Council. 2018. International student mobility to 2027: Local investment, global outcomes. https://ei.britishcouncil.org/educationintelligence/ei-feature-international-student-mobility-2027-local-investment-global-outcome (accessed 17th February, 2018).

Budde-Sung, A. E. 2011. The increasing internationalization of the international business classroom: Cultural and generational considerations. Business Horizons, 54(4): 365-373.

Camilleri, M. A., & Camilleri, A. C. (2017). Digital learning resources and ubiquitous technologies in education. Technology, Knowledge and Learning, 22(1), 65-82.

Constantinides, E., & Zinck Stagno, M. C. 2011. Potential of the social media as instruments of higher education marketing: a segmentation study. Journal of marketing for higher education, 21(1): 7-24.

Cronin Jr, J. J., & Taylor, S. A. 1992. Measuring service quality: a reexamination and extension. Journal of marketing, 56(3):55-68.

Doque, L. C. 2014. A framework for analysing higher education performance: students’ satisfaction, perceived learning outcomes, and dropout intentions. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence 25(1-2): 1-21.

Estermann, T. 2017. Why university autonomy matters more than ever. University World News, (454), http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20170404132356742 (Accessed 28th February, 2018).

Estermann, T., Nokkala, T., & Steinel, M. 2011. University autonomy in Europe II. The Scorecard. Brussels: European University Association. http://agir-ups.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/University_Autonomy_in_Europe_II_-_The_Scorecard.sflb_.pdf (Accessed 28th February, 2018).

EUA 2017. EUA calls on governments to refrain from interference in university autonomy. http://www.eua.be/activities-services/news/newsitem/2017/04/03/eua-calls-on-governments-to-refrain-from-interference-in-university-autonomy (Accessed 26th February, 2018).

Friga, P.N., Bettis, R.A. & Sullivan, R.S. 2003. Changes. In graduate management education and new business school strategies for the 21st century. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 2(3): 233—249

Helms, M. M., & Nixon, J. 2010. Exploring SWOT analysis–where are we now? A review of academic research from the last decade. Journal of strategy and management, 3(3): 215-251.

Hemsley-Brown, J., & Oplatka, I. 2006. Universities in a competitive global marketplace: A systematic review of the literature on higher education marketing. International Journal of public sector management, 19(4): 316-338.

Hoecht, A. 2006. Quality assurance in UK higher education: Issues of trust, control, professional autonomy and accountability. Higher Education, 51(4): 541—563.

ICEF 2017. Mapping the trends that will shape international student mobility. http://monitor.icef.com/2017/07/mapping-trends-will-shape-international-student-mobility/ (Accessed 28th February, 2018).

Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. 2005. Learning styles and learning spaces: Enhancing experiential learning in higher education. Academy of management learning & education, 4(2): 193-212.

Kotler, P., & Fox, K. F. 1995. Strategic marketing for educational institutions. New York, USA: Prentice Hall.

Lee, J. T. 2014. Education hubs and talent development: Policy- making and implementation challenges. Higher Education, 68(6): 807—823.

Marginson, S. 2006. Dynamics of national and global competition in higher education. Higher Education, 52(1): 1-39.

Maton, K. 2005. A question of autonomy: Bourdieu’s field approach and higher education policy. Journal of education policy, 20(6): 687-704.

Mazzarol, T. 1998. Critical success factors for international education marketing. International Journal of Educational Management, 12(4): 163-175.

Mazzarol, T., & Soutar, G. N. 2002. “Push-pull” factors influencing international student destination choice. International Journal of Educational Management, 16(2): 82-90.

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. 2011. Distance education: A systems view of online learning. Belmont, CA, USA: Cengage Learning.

Parameswaran, R., & Glowacka, A. E. 1995. University image: An information processing perspective. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 6(2): 41-56.

Pucciarelli, F., & Kaplan, A. 2016. Competition and strategy in higher education: Managing complexity and uncertainty. Business Horizons, 59(3): 311-320.

Russell, M. 2005. Marketing education: A review of service quality perceptions among international students. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 17(1): 65-77.

Schofield, C., Cotton, D., Gresty, K., Kneale, P., & Winter, J. 2013. Higher education provision in a crowded marketplace. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 35(2): 193-205.

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Filed under Business, Higher Education, Marketing

Announcing a Call for Chapters (for Springer)

Call for Chapters

Strategic Corporate Communication and Stakeholder Engagement in the Digital Age

 

Abstract submission deadline: 30th June 2019 (EXTENDED to the 30th September 2019)
Full chapters due: 31st December 2019

 

Background

The latest advances in technologies and networks have been central to the expansion of electronic content across different contexts. Contemporary communication approaches are crossing boundaries as new media are offering both challenges and opportunities. The democratisation of the production and dissemination of information via the online technologies has inevitably led individuals and organisations to share content (including images, photos, news items, videos and podcasts) via the digital and social media. Interactive technologies are allowing individuals and organisations to co-create and manipulate electronic content. At the same time, they enable them to engage in free-flowing conversations with other online users, groups or virtual communities (Camilleri, 2017). Innovative technologies have empowered the organisations’ stakeholders, including; employees, investors, customers, local communities, government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as the news media, among others. Both internal and external stakeholders are in a better position to scrutinise the organisations’ decisions and actions. For this reason, there is scope for the practitioners to align their corporate communication goals and activities with the societal expectations (Camilleri, 2015; Gardberg & Fombrun, 2006). Therefore, organisations are encouraged to listen to their stakeholders. Several public interest organisations, including listed businesses, banks and insurance companies are already sharing information about their financial and non-financial performance in an accountable and transparent manner. The rationale behind their corporate disclosures is to develop and maintain strong and favourable reputations among stakeholders (Camilleri, 2018; Cornelissen, 2008). The corporate reputation is “a perceptual representation of a company’s past actions and future prospects that describe the firm’s overall appeal to all of its key constituents when compared to other leading rivals” (Fombrun, 1996).

Business and media practitioners ought to be cognisant about the strategic role of corporate communication in leveraging the organisations’ image and reputation among stakeholders (Van Riel & Fombrun, 2007). They are expected to possess corporation communication skills as they need to forge relationships with different stakeholder groups (including employees, customers, suppliers, investors, media, regulatory authorities and the community at large). They have to be proficient in specialist areas, including; issues management, crises communication as well as in corporate social responsibility reporting, among other topics. At the same time, they should be aware about the possible uses of different technologies, including; artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, big data analytics, blockchain and internet of things, among others; as these innovative tools are disrupting today’s corporate communication processes.

 

Objective

This title shall explain how strategic communication and media management can affect various political, economic, societal and technological realities. Theoretical and empirical contributions can shed more light on the existing structures, institutions and cultures that are firmly founded on the communication technologies, infrastructures and practices. The rapid proliferation of the digital media has led both academics and practitioners to increase their interactive engagement with a multitude of stakeholders. Very often, they are influencing regulators, industries, civil society organisations and activist groups, among other interested parties. Therefore, this book’s valued contributions may include, but are not restricted to, the following topics:

 

Artificial Intelligence and Corporate Communication

Augmented and Virtual Reality in Corporate Communication

Blockchain and Corporate Communication

Big Data and Analytics in Corporate Communication

Branding and Corporate Reputation

Corporate Communication via Social Media

Corporate Communication Policy

Corporate Culture

Corporate Identity

Corporate Social Responsibility Communications

Crisis, Risk and Change Management

Digital Media and Corporate Communication

Employee Communications

Fake News and Corporate Communication

Government Relationships

Integrated Communication

Integrated Reporting of Financial and Non-Financial Performance

Internet Technologies and Corporate Communication

Internet of Things and Corporate Communication

Investor Relationships

Issues Management and Public Relations

Leadership and Change Communication

Marketing Communications

Measuring the Effectiveness of Corporate Communications

Metrics for Corporate Communication Practice

Press and Media Relationships

Stakeholder Management and Communication

Strategic Planning and Communication Management

 

This publication shall present the academics’ conceptual discussions that cover the contemporary topic of corporate communication in a concise yet accessible way. Covering both theory and practice, this publication shall introduce its readers to the key issues of strategic corporate communication as well as stakeholder management in the digital age. This will allow prospective practitioners to critically analyse future, real-life situations. All chapters will provide a background to specific topics as the academic contributors should feature their critical perspectives on issues, controversies and problems relating to corporate communication.

This authoritative book will provide relevant knowledge and skills in corporate communication that is unsurpassed in readability, depth and breadth. At the start of each chapter, the authors will prepare a short abstract that summarises the content of their contribution. They are encouraged to include descriptive case studies to illustrate real situations, conceptual, theoretical or empirical contributions that are meant to help aspiring managers and executives in their future employment. In conclusion, each chapter shall also contain a succinct summary that should outline key implications (of the findings) to academia and / or practitioners, in a condensed form. This will enable the readers to retain key information.

 

Target Audience

This textbook introduces aspiring practitioners as well as under-graduate and post-graduate students to the subject of corporate communication – in a structured manner. More importantly, it will also be relevant to those course instructors who are teaching media, marketing communications and business-related subjects in higher education institutions, including; universities and colleges. It is hoped that course conveners will use this edited textbook as a basis for class discussions.

 

Submission Procedure

Senior and junior academic researchers are invited to submit a 300-word abstract on or before the 30th June 2019. Submissions should be sent to Mark.A.Camilleri@um.edu.mt. Authors will be notified about the editorial decision during July 2019. The length of the chapters should be between 6,000- 8,000 words (including references, figures and tables). These contributions will be accepted on or before the 31st December 2019. The references should be presented in APA style (Version 6). All submitted chapters will be critically reviewed on a double-blind review basis. The authors’ and the reviewers’ identities will remain anonymous. All authors will be requested to serve as reviewers for this book. They will receive a notification of acceptance, rejection or suggested modifications – on or before the 15th February 2020.

Note: There are no submission or acceptance fees for the publication of this book. All abstracts / proposals should be submitted via the editor’s email.

 

Editor

Mark Anthony Camilleri (Ph.D. Edinburgh)
Department of Corporate Communication,
Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences,
University of Malta, MALTA.
Email: mark.a.camilleri@um.edu.mt

 

Publisher

Following the double-blind peer review process, the full chapters will be submitted to Springer Nature for final review. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit https://www.springer.com/gp. This prospective publication will be released in 2020.

 

Important Dates

Abstract Submission Deadline:          30th June 2019 30th September 2019
Notification of Acceptance:               31st July 2019 31st October 2019

Full Chapters Due:                             31st December 2019

Notification of Review Results:         15th February 2020
Final Chapter Submission:                 31st March 2020

Final Acceptance Notification:          30th April, 2020

References

Camilleri, M.A. (2015). Valuing Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Reporting. Corporate Reputation Review18(3), 210-222. https://link-springer-com.ejournals.um.edu.mt/article/10.1057/crr.2015.9

Camilleri, M.A. (2017). Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319468488

Camilleri, M.A. (2018). Theoretical Insights on Integrated Reporting: The Inclusion of Non-Financial Capitals in Corporate Disclosures. Corporate Communications: An International Journal23(4), 567-581. https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/CCIJ-01-2018-0016

Cornelissen, J.P. (2008). Corporate Communication. The International Encyclopedia of Communication. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9781405186407.wbiecc143.pub2

Fombrun, C.J. (1995). Reputation: Realizing Value from the Corporate Image. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard Business School Press.

Gardberg, N.A., & Fombrun, C. J. (2006). Corporate Citizenship: Creating Intangible Assets across Institutional Environments. Academy of Management Review31(2), 329-346. https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMR.2006.20208684

Van Riel, C.B., & Fombrun, C.J. (2007). Essentials of Corporate Communication: Implementing Practices for Effective Reputation Management. Oxford, UK: Routledge. http://repository.umpwr.ac.id:8080/bitstream/handle/123456789/511/Essentials%20of%20Corporate%20Communication.pdf?sequence=1

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Filed under Analytics, Big Data, blockchain, branding, Business, Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR, digital media, ESG Reporting, Higher Education, Human Resources, Impact Investing, Integrated Reporting, internet technologies, internet technologies and society, Marketing, online, Shared Value, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability, Web

The Customers’ Brand Identification with Luxury Hotels: A Social Identity Perspective

This is an excerpt from one of my latest papers.

How to Cite: Rather, R.A. & Camilleri, M.A. (2019). The Customers’ Brand Identification with Luxury Hotels: A Social Identity Perspective. In Harrison, T. & Brennan, M. (Eds.) 2019 AMS World Marketing Congress. University of Edinburgh, Scotland (July 2019). Academy of Marketing Science (Download Now).

 

Relevant theoretical underpinnings on the social identity theory (SIT) suggests that the consumers’ self-expressions are somewhat associated with their relationships with firms and brands (Rather & Hollebeek, 2019; Fujita, Harrigan & Soutar, 2018; Elbedweihy, Jayawardhena, Elsharnouby & Elsharnouby, 2016; So, King & Sparkes, 2014; So, King, Sparks & Wang, 2013; Bhattacharya & Sen, 2003). For this reason, this paper relied on the SIT perspective to explore the consumer-brand relationships (Elbedweihy et al., 2016; Lam, Ahearne, Mullins, Hayati, & Schillewaert, 2013; Ahearne, Bhattacharya & Gruen 2005).

The individual consumers form part of a social group who regularly experience the delivery of services (Fujita et al., 2018; Huang, Cheng, & Chen, 2017; Elbedweihet al., 2016; So et al., 2013; Kuenzel & Halliday, 2008; Bhattacharya & Sen, 2003). Hence, the service brands can be considered as the facilitators of the consumers’ social identity and expression as individuals can identify with brands if they perceive that they match their self-concept (Stokburger-Sauer, Ratneshwar, & Sen, 2012; Homburg, Wieseke & Hoyer, 2009). In a similar vein, the customer-brand identification (CBI) concept describes the relationships between the brands and their customers, as it explicates how the brands relate to the individuals’ self-concept (Martinez & Rodriguez del Bosque, 2013). Many brands are increasingly looking after their existing customers by satisfying their various needs, wants and desires (Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001; Martinez & Rodriguez del Bosque, 2014). They do so to retain their existing customers. The loyal customers are usually willing to pay more, spend more and recommend more than new prospects (Martinez & Rodriguez del Bosque, 2014; Harris & Goode, 2004).

The subject of brand loyalty has been explored extensively in the marketing literature. Past studies have often focused on the antecedents of loyalty, including;  customer satisfaction (Popp & Woratschek, 2017), trust (Martinez & Rodriguez del Bosque, 2014; So et al., 2013), perceived service quality (So et al., 2013), commitment (Narteh, Agbemabiese, Kodua, & Braimah, 2013; Su, Swanson, Chinchanachokchai, Hsu, & Chen, 2016), customer engagement (Rather, Hollebeek & Islam, 2019; So et al., 2014), as well as perceived value (So et al., 2013), among other constructs. Notwithstanding, CBI has been investigated in different research contexts, and has often yielded contradictory results. For instance, Su et al. (2016) indicated that brand identification was not significant in predicting customer loyalty. While other studies suggested that the relationship between customer retention, word-of-mouth and loyalty were positive and significant (Kuenzel & Halliday, 2008); other research reported that there is a correlation between CBI and customer loyalty (Rather & Hollebeek, 2019; Martinez & Rodriguez del Bosque, 2013; 2014). However, the literature did not devote sufficient attention to discover the antecedents of CBI, albeit a few exceptions (Su et al., 2016; So et al., 2013; Keh & Xie, 2009).

 

Research Question

Previous theoretical underpinnings and empirical studies have contributed to advancing our knowledge on brand loyalty and customer-brand relationships (Ahearne et al., 2005; Bhattacharya & Sen, 2003; Fujita et al., 2018; He, Li, & Harris, 2012; So et al., 2013). However, there is still a gap in the extent literature that explores CBI by using the social identity perspective (Ahearne, et al., 2005; Choo, Park, & Petrick, 2011; Elbedweihy et al., 2016; He et al., 2012; Martinez and Rodriguez del Bosque, 2014; Popp & Woratschek, 2017; So et al., 2013; Su et al., 2016). Hence, this paper addresses this lacuna in academic literature. The aim of this study is to provide further empirical evidence on the CBI construct (Keh & Xie, 2009; Su et al., 2016). To the best of our knowledge, few studies have combined the social identity theory with social exchange factors to explain the determinants of hotel brand loyalty. Many researchers maintain that by incorporating the social identity (Rindfleisch, Burroughs, & Wong, 2009; Homburg et al., 2009; Tajfel & Turner, 1986) and the service dynamics (Harris & Goode, 2004; Martinez & Rodriguez del Bosque, 2014) they would better understand the psychological processes that are linked to brand loyalty. Prior empirical studies in the hospitality context did not incorporate certain aspects of brand loyalty, including the mediating effects of commitment, satisfaction and trust. Hence, this research differentiates itself from other contributions; by building on the foundations of previous research on the social identity perspective of customer-brand loyalty. However, it considers the direct and indirect effects of social exchange variables from the marketing science literature, to explore the causal path from CBI to brand loyalty. In sum, this study addresses the following research questions: (i) How is CBI related to customer satisfaction? (ii) How is CBI related to trust? (iii) Is CBI different from customer commitment? (iv) Are CBI, customer satisfaction and commitment influencing brand loyalty?

 

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Data-Driven Marketing Technologies and Disruptive Innovations

The latest disruptive technologies are supporting  the  marketing mix elements as they can improve the businesses’ interactive engagement with prospective customers, and enhance their personalization of services. They  may also provide secure pricing options.

Many firms are evolving from their passive, rigid, and product-centric state to a more flexible, dynamic, and customer-centric environment. Technology is enabling data-driven companies to monitor and detect any changes in consumer sentiment. Savvy technology giants including Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Google are capturing (and analyzing) the online and mobile activity of prospective customers. Their analytics captures the consumers’ interactions with brands and companies through digital media. Big data is enabling them to target and re-target individu­als and online communities with instantaneous pricing and access options, across multiple channels (via web-site activity, mobile,video, social media, e-commerce, among others). 

Mobile tracking technologies are being utilized by big technology conglomerates as they gather information on the consumer behaviours, including their shopping habits, lifestyle preferences , et cetera. Businesses have learnt how to take advantage of on-demand, real-time information from sensors, radio frequency identification and other location tracking devices to better understand their marketing environments at a more granular level (Storey and Song, 2017). This way business could come up with personalised products and services, that are demanded by individual customers. From a business perspective, it is important to acquire this data, quickly, and in high velocities.

Many businesses are already benefiting of the programmatic advertising environment; where buyers and sellers of digital advertising connect online to exchange available inventory (Busch,2016; Stevens et al., 2016).  The challenge for tomorrow’s businesses is to recognize the value of smart technologies as effective tools that can help them analyse their marketing environment; that comprise their customers as well as their competitors.

The predictive-analytical tools can examine different scenarios as they can anticipate what will happen, when it will happen, and can explain why it happens. These technologies can monetise data by identifying revenue generating opportunities and cost savings.

Other innovations, including; blockchain’s distributed ledger technologies are improving data privacy. This technology involves the verification and the secure recording of transactions among an interconnected set of users. Blockchain tracks the ownership of assets before, during, and after any online transaction. Therefore, this technology could be used by different businesses to facilitate their transactions with marketplace stakeholders, including; suppliers, intermediaries, and consumers across borders. The block chain will probably be more convenient than other payment options, in terms of time and money. Therefore, blockchain’s ledger technology can possibly lead to better customer service levels and operational efficiencies for businesses.

The smart tourism technologies, including big data analytics are shifting how organisations collect, analyze and utilise and distribute data. A thorough literature review suggests that the crunching of big data analytics is generating meaningful insights and supporting tourism marketers in their decision making. Moreover,other technologies, including the programmatic advertising and block chain are helping them to improve their financial and strategic performance, whilst minimizing costs. Table 1 illustrates how smart tourism businesses are capturing, analysing and distributing data.

Table 1. Data-driven approaches for smart tourism

(Camilleri, 2018)

Emerging Trends and Future Research

Tomorrow’s tourism businesses will be serving customers from geographically-diverse regions. There will be more travellers from emerging markets and developing economies. The tourism service providers will have to cater to different demographics, including senior citizens and individuals with special needs; as the populations are getting older in many countries.

Therefore,  smart technologies can be used to anticipate the discerned consumers’ requirements. For instance, the use of programmatic advertising will probably increase the individuals’ intuitive shopping experiences and can tap into the individuals’ discretionary purchases.

It is very likely, that the third-party retailers will continue to form part of the distribution mix. However, many service providers will be using their direct channels to reach out to their targeted customers. 

The sales of products will continue to rely on mobile devices with increased consumer interactions through speech and voice recognition software. The service providers may possibly rely on artificial intelligence and other forms of cognitive learning capabilities, like machine learning and deep learning.

The businesses’ distributive systems could interface with virtual reality software to help online intermediaries to merchandise their products in captivating customer experiences. Many online prospects may use blockchain’s secure technology to purchase tourism products, in the foreseeable future.

This contribution calls for further empirical research that could explore smart tourism innovations for individuals and organisations, including; mobile social networking, mobile visualisation, personalization and behavioural modelling for mobile apps, programmatic advertising, blockchain, AI, and the internet of things, among other areas.

References

Busch, O. (2016), “The programmatic advertising principle”, In Programmatic Advertising (pp. 3-15). Springer, Cham, Switzerland.

Camilleri, M.A. (2018) Data-Driven Marketing and Disruptive Technologies. Working Paper 08/2018, Department of Corporate Communication, University of Malta. 

Stevens, A., Rau, A., and McIntyre, M. (2016), “Integrated campaign planning in a programmatic world”, In Programmatic Advertising (pp. 193-210), Springer, Cham, Switzerland. 

Storey, V. C., and Song, I. Y. (2017), “Big data technologies and Management: What conceptual modeling can do?”, Data and Knowledge Engineering, Vol. 108, pp. 50-67.

 

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Filed under Analytics, Big Data, blockchain, Business, digital media, Marketing